Page load time is an important factor to determine whether or not users will stick to your website. It’s time to focus on this parameter if you haven’t already. Even a second of delay in the page load time can cost your business. It decreases page views, conversions, and customer satisfaction. Ideally, the page load time should be somewhere near 2-3 seconds. Anything less than that is well accepted by the users, but if it increases the three-second threshold, it may force the users to leave your site. Or even if they choose to stay, chances that they won’t visit your site the next time are high. Now think about it, would it be great if the user leaves without even knowing what your website has to offer? Certainly not. Plus, it can also affect your ranking.
So what to do?
There are numerous factors that affect the page load time of a website. And the best part is, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to get things right. You just have to carefully pay attention to the content and design of your webpage. The effects of which will be visible on your website. So why to wait? Let’s start digging the best ways to decrease the page load time.
1.Minimize HTTP requests
As stated by Yahoo, about 80% of the load time is spent on downloading elements like images, scripts, stylesheets, etc. For each of these elements, an HTTP request is made. So basically, the more these on-page elements are, the more time it takes for the page to load. You can view how many HTTP requests your site makes by using the Developer’s Tools provided in Google Chrome.
2. Combine Files
3. Use Asynchronous Loading
Minimize Time To First Byte (TTFB)
Apart from the page load time, the time it takes to start loading also matters. Time To First Byte (TTFB) is the amount of time a browser has to wait before it receives the first byte from the server. Unlike other front-end things the website owners focus on, this is more of a server-side concern. Google recommends a TTFB of 200 ms. If your site has a TTFB under 200 ms, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you can enable caching to improve this time.
Choose the right hosting side
Many website owners go for the cheapest hosting option available. Though this is enough for the beginners, you will have to change it in the near future. There are three types of hosting available – Shared hosting: where you share all the resources with others, VPS hosting: where you share the resources but you also have your own space and Dedicated hosting: where all the space and resources are just for you. The last hosting option is the best, and yes, expensive. So start with shared hosting, and switch to VPS once you attract more traffic and eventually go for the dedicated hosting.
7.Run a compression audit
It is a good practice to have your webpage compressed without sacrificing the quality. A smaller size will result in less load time and great user experience. Pages having lots of images and videos will have a size around 100KB and they would be quite bulky to download. You can run a compression audit to check the uncompressed size of your website and can use it to study the result of further compression.
Enable Browser Caching
When you visit a website, the elements of that page are stored on your hard drive, storage in the form a cache. So the next time when you will visit the website, the load time will be considerably lesser as there won’t be any need to send another HTTP request to the server. For this, you’d have to enable browser caching.
Reducing image size
Images are the main components of your webpage and they take the majority of the time to load. However, eliminating them is not the option to even consider. Images make the content readable and maintain the user interest on the webpage. Reducing image size can be a good option. However, don’t compress the image to a scale where it becomes blurry. Instead, keep it to a level that keeps the images clear.
10. Use external hosting platforms
This is a better approach if you have large files. However, this is best suited for video files that are large in size. You don’t need to upload the video files directly to your server as it will pose many problems. First, if you have shared hosting, uploading a video alone would take up your space. Secondly, you may quickly run out of the available server storage space and can even have your website shut down altogether. Third and last, it will provide a very poor user experience. Suppose that multiple users decided to view the video at the same time, now your server had to serve all the requests at the same time and if the server has a lesser bandwidth, then it’s a problem. So what’s the best way then? Use video hosting platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, etc. Not only the server storage problem would be rectified, but you will also get paid for the views on your videos.